States of Being Traced at Cross Pollinate 2019
6525 Ellis Ave S.
Seattle, WA 98180
6525 Ellis Ave S.
Seattle, WA 98180
Join us for our semi-annual open house! See new work by 30+ artists, support local makers, and get lost in our beautiful historic building with five floors of open studios!
There will be an exhibition, WS is BS*: Contemporary Non-Western Indigineity, in the First Floor Gallery, presented by SPoCS (Seattle People of Color Salon)
*White Supremacy is Bullshit
815 Seattle Blvd. South
Seattle WA 98134
Friday, March 22, 2019, 7 – 10 pm
Performances with Volunteer Models
Thursday, March 21, 7 – 10 pm
Friday, March 22, 7 – 10 pm
Saturday, March 23, 1 – 4 pm
Sunday, March 24, 1 – 4 pm
March 21 – April 28, 2019
1847 Columbia Road NW, Washington D.C. 20009
Free and open to the public
I am excited to present States of Being Live, at LaPop, a cultural salon, in Washington D.C., this March.
States of Being Live is a collaborative, community work of life-size-life-drawings that I will make with volunteer models. Each person will pose for about 20 minutes while I draw a whole body portrait of her/him/them. The portraits will layer on top of each other, creating an accumulation of figures and a whole, abstract drawing of the community in which individuals are visible. See the gallery below for images of previous SBL projects.
If you would like to try your hand at making your own life-size-life-drawing, On Sunday, March 24, I will hold a workshop for people interested trying this project.
There will be a Makers’ Market in the lobby, pop-up shows throughout the building including A Mountain’s Pulse in the basement gallery, Che Sehyun on the High Wall beginning at 6pm, and a solo show by Nina Vichayapai in the first floor gallery.
815 Seattle Blvd. South
Seattle WA 98134
Last August I spent two weeks at the Horse and Art Research Program in Barnag, Hungary. Barnag is a small village near Lake Balaton, about two hours from Budapest. The program is the creation of Beáta Veszely and Marton Szmercsanyi and it brings together of artwork and horsemanship. You can learn more about HARP here. The residency takes place on a farm where Beáta and Marton train horses and riders, and teach and practice traditional Hungarian horse archery.
There were three residents in my session, including me. Originally there were supposed to be six of us, but at the last minute, plans for three of our compatriots changed. Georgia, Lara and I were the three who made it. We lived and worked closely together, sharing a large yurt to sleep in as well as communal kitchen and workspaces. Our days varied, but generally we had a block of time for artwork, occasional field trips, time to work with horses, lunch together, archery instruction, and the odd nap in the heat of the afternoon. Some evenings we gathered to watch movies about the academic art of riding or to share our past work. Beáta and Marton were involved throughout, sharing their love of horses and knowledge of art and the Balaton region.
Because I traveled so far to attend HARP, most of the works I made while I was there are small watercolors or drawings. I often made gesture drawings from watching the horses, or horses and riders, and then created more finished works from them in watercolor. This was a fruitful way of working for me, and a method that I continue to use. During my travels, I also began to make paintings of myself experiencing things, such as laying back on Arabell the horse, creating from what I remembered feeling in the moment, rather than from looking at something. This also is a practice I am continuing now that I am home.
As a group we did a collaborative performance with Arabell the horse. The sparks for this came from the prior year’s print of Arabell, my large gestural drawings of people and animals, and Beáta’s inspiration. We created a charcoal wall drawing of Arabell by tracing her multiple times as she stood near the wall in the common room. She moved gently and we captured the movement quickly. We performed this for an audience during our show at the end of the residency.
The afternoons in August in Hungary are very hot. In the evenings, one it cooled off, we worked with the horses. I have no formal training with horses, but do have experience with them from spending time with my aunts and their horses as a child. Still, I was pretty nervous around them in the beginning, I was a child a long time ago.
Beáta and Marton led us in basic exercises of natural horsemanship. In this method, we walked with the horses first, to establish a connection. The horses wore bridles, but did not have a bit. And, we generally used only a saddle pad—no saddle or stirrups. We were taught that the most important way rider and horse communicate is with the seat, all else is secondary.
At the end of the first evening of riding the horses, Marton instructed us to lay back. I had seen this in some of the videos they showed us, but I was nervous to do it myself. But, I did it. And it was wonderful to feel Arabell under my back, to let go and trust her. When I asked Marton what the purpose of that had been, he said “for you, you didn’t think you could do it.” He was right.
Most evenings I worked with Arabell, who is a gentle and patient horse. However, I did not fully master communicating well with her. I always was hesitant, asking rather than telling her to do something. This was not a very successful way for us to work together. I felt we had a relationship of mutual annoyance—she was annoyed with me because I did not say resolutely what to do, and I was annoyed with her because she did not do what I asked her to do. Still, I enjoyed working with her and through the lessons, I became much more comfortable with horses than I had been when I first arrived at HARP.
The first afternoon at HARP we watched Beáta and Marton train in horse archery with their group. They rode a track that passed a rotating target. Each mounted archer cantered down the track, both hands occupied with bow and arrows, and fired as many arrows as they could into the target. They began firing as they approached and rotated in their seats as they passed the target, firing for as long as it was physically possible to aim at the target. It was very impressive. While watching them practice, I drew, capturing gesture drawings of the way they worked.
We learned the basics of archery while at HARP. Lara first taught me as she had learned the previous year. I can’t say I was a natural at it, but I enjoyed it a great deal. Beáta gave us more instruction over the course of the residency, enough that I bought a bow to take home and I was able to shoot from horseback on the last days at the farm.
Beáta and Marton are affiliated with Kassai Lajos “the creator of the modern version of horseback archery” and have worked and trained with him extensively. Late in our residency, we spent a day at The Valley, Kassai’s headquarters. The day began with a show performed by the young people who had just completed their summer training. This was followed by a large, family-style potluck meal and an afternoon of training for the adults. Georgia and I spent the afternoon watching the training, visiting with the horses on the farm, and practicing with our own new bows.
Each morning the horses were let out of their paddock to graze in the fields. For the first few days, after breakfast, I went in search of them. The fields were large, with a copse of trees running lengthwise through them. The grasses were high and filled with bugs and flowers and sticky burrs that got caught on my pants and socks and in the horses’ manes. The horses roamed far and wide. When it was clear I wouldn’t find the horses and get back on time for our next activity, I stopped where I was and made drawings of what I saw right there.
When I went on my own, I was never successful at finding the horses in the time I had. But, I loved walking out in search of them. Each time I went, I got better at finding the pathways the horses made. And walking was much easier when I traveled on one of their paths. The fields were a gentle uphill away from the farm, and walking up there provided a view of the valley we were in. I could see the steeple of the Catholic Church across the road from the farm, as well as far away hills on the other side of the valley. It was quiet except for the buzzing of the bugs.
After a few unsuccessful missions, someone suggested I follow the horses out in the morning. A few days later, they were released to the pasture a little later than usual, and I followed them.
At first I gave them a lot of space, drawing from far away. As I got more comfortable, I edged closer, they were aware I was there as I drew nearer. One got curious and came to check me out. She nuzzled me in a friendly fashion, and stayed close. The rest of the group started to drift towards me. And then, suddenly, all six were right around me. I got nervous then, what would I do if they all wanted to nudge me at once? I knew they wouldn’t hurt me, but after a few minutes I went in from the fields.
Sleeping in the yurt was quite comfortable. We each had plenty of space, a thick pad to sleep on and extra pillows and blankets, left by previous residents, to use. The first night we were there, in the early morning hours, a major thunderstorm rolled over the farm. It crashed and banged and rained hard. The yurt lit up with lightning. I lay there, exhilarated by the storm and nervous. Was a yurt a safe place to be? But, leaving the yurt and crossing the yard to the buildings did not seem like a good idea, so I stayed in bed and hoped for the best. Eventually the storm quieted and I slept again.
Each morning at 5 am, the Catholic Church across the road from the farm rang its bells. This was no subtle, one or two rings to mark the morning hour. Those bells rang and rang and rang, intending to wake the town. I always went back to sleep. At 6 am the Protestant Church at the other end of town (a block away) rang. These were much more modest and were quieter for being further away, still, I often heard them. Lastly, despite it having been light since at least 5 am, at 7, the rooster next door crowed, and every time, despite the earlier bells, I called him an asshole. And then I got up. Our hosts told us that they hardly noticed the bells after living near them. I didn’t believe that was possible. However, by the last few days of the residency, I couldn’t remember waking up to the 5 am bells.
My time at HARP was rejuvenating, I enjoyed the people, the horses, and the place very much. I felt alive in the world while I was there. I hope to go back sometime and see how the program evolves.
905 E. Pike Street, Seattle WA 98122
Please join us in October for a presentation of Claire Brandt’s recent paintings. Last year Brandt was diagnosed with Stage I Breast Cancer. From the beginning, she painted her experience. Through biopsies, surgery, chemo and radiation she painted self-portraits in order to process an intensely frightening bodily experience.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, at Retail Therapy we will have information on resources for support and screening for breast cancer.
“Going through cancer was the scariest experience of my life, especially in the beginning. I was lucky, mine was an early catch and I had good medical care. Making these self-portraits was a way for me to confront and feel what was happening to me. They are record of my experience that I hope helps people understand what breast cancer means to a body. And I hope they are helpful to others who might be facing something similar—without sugarcoating it, I want them to know that there is a way through.”
– Claire Brandt
This project was a performance of life-size-life-drawing at the SOIL Gallery in Seattle, WA during the Seattle Art Fair 2016. For three days, August 5, 6, and 7, I drew volunteer models. Each day I worked from 1pm to 4pm. Models were people I didn’t know who were visiting the gallery, other people involved in “Does Live Art…” and friends who came to participate in my project. Altogether, I drew 20 people into one canvas.
Usually getting ready for a show involves heavy stress to finish artwork on time. It was a refreshing change to begin a show with a blank piece of canvas. From installation on, being a part of “Does Live Art…” reminded me a bit of my college days in stage production—from the down-time camaraderie to the days of performance adrenaline, the similarity was distinct, and welcome. I’d forgotten how much fun—and how much work shows involve. The aftermath is great too, I was exhausted, but uniquely satisfied by the combination of working with people, making something, and feeling the energy of the Seattle Art Fair weekend.
See below for photos of the performance. And, scroll down below the gallery to see a timelapse video of the performance weekend at SOIL.
I will perform August 5, 6, and 7 from 1 pm to 4 pm at SOIL. I welcome drop-in volunteer models. Or, if you would like to schedule a session, please email me.
Exhibition – August 4 – 27
Opening durational performance August 4, 12-8pm
Weekend performance series August 5 – 7, 11am-11pm
Closing durational performance August 27, 12-5pm
Gallery hours are Th-Su, 12-5
Location: SOIL Gallery: 112 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104
The performance series runs August 5-7, 11am-11pm, with the themes Body, Risk, and Future. The gallery will host a noontime meal each of the three days, after which will be discussions, based on the day’s theme. In the afternoons and evenings are a full schedule of performances.
Twice a year Inscape Arts and Culture opens the doors to you to come and see what the 200 artists who work in the building are up to. We have painters, photographers, bike makers, robot builders, puppet makers, print makers and every form of expression under the sun working here. Check it all out—walk through this amazing historic building.
815 Seattle Blvd South (formerly Airport Way South)
Seattle, WA 98134